Remember Natalie Meyer? Who could forget Colorado’s longest-serving secretary of state? The Republican was elected to the first of her three terms in 1982 — it was before term limits — and served through 1994. In her time in office she was widely respected across the partisan divide for keeping a steady hand on the tiller through thick and thin, smoothly navigating one election after another. Some say she even set a new standard for subsequent secretaries of state to meet.
And even though the job usually isn’t attended by a lot of publicity or a very high profile, the secretary of state sure earns his/her keep. It isn’t easy being the chief elections official for the entire state alongside a range of other responsibilities, from bingo oversight to business registration. Just ask the office’s current occupant, Wayne Williams.
Which gives Williams all the more appreciation for Meyer’s 12-year tenure at the helm. So much so, he presented Meyer this week with an NASS Medallion Award from the National Association of Secretaries of State (or NASS), recognizing her long-standing contributions to Colorado’s democratic process.
Williams and staff decided to have a little fun with the award presentation. From a press release issued by Williams’s office:
The award came as a surprise to Meyer, who had been invited to Denver Elections on the guise of welcoming municipal clerks who were there for training.
According to NASS’s website, the honor allows secretaries of state like Williams “to recognize outstanding service and dedication to furthering the mission of the National Association of Secretaries of State.” The mission includes a focus on, “elections, with special emphasis on voter education and participation.”
Though her time in office ended with the 1994 election, when she decided against seeking another term, Williams noted at the award presentation Monday, “…she didn’t retire … For the next two decades she kept coming in and working as an elections judge in Denver. She has an unrelenting commitment to election integrity.”
The Secretary of State’s Office press announcement also took note of Meyer’s lifetime in politics:
Before becoming secretary of state, Meyer held a held a number of political posts, including serving as campaign manager for former U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong’s 1976 successful re-election bid. Prior to that, Meyer taught typing, bookkeeping, shorthand, history and English at Bear Valley and Wheat Ridge high schools until her first daughter was born.
Donetta Davidson — another former secretary of state who had served previously under Meyer as elections director — also attended the presentation.